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THE POWER OF VISUALISATION We see things not as they are, but as we are. One person may view the gym as an opportunity for self-improvement, another as a place of personal torture. For our cover star, Danny MacAskill, it’s a biker’s playground (page 32). The Zeppelin is a symbol of grand human vision and shortsighted folly – for three skiers last year, it was just the most awesome vehicle to ride to the summit of an impossible mountain (page 50). Some might view pirate radio (page 42) as a shady endeavour; for others it’s a protest against the mundanity of the mainstream, the freedom to bring together underground music communities. Our ability to redefine our reality allows ultrarunners to push beyond their physical limits (page 58); it helped mountaineer Joe Simpson crawl for four days back to base camp when all was lost (page 26); and for childhood war victims Emmanuel Jal and Nyaruach (page 30) it let them see past hate and violence to make music that spreads love.



The London-based writer wrote two profiles for us this month: on sibling musicians who fled violence in South Sudan (page 30), and on Dolya Gavanski, a filmmaker exploring her Soviet roots (page 24). “These artists had very different experiences,” Holland says, “but they shared a determination to speak difficult truths in order to move on from the past.”


A regular contributor to The Red Bulletin, freelance journalist Sigee got to talk to cover star Danny MacAskill about the inner machinations of his mind. “Being in the right headspace is crucial for Danny,” she observes. “It’s only when he’s on the bike, in the moment, that he knows whether or not he can execute a trick. His videos are so fun that it’s easy to forget how skilled he is.” Page 32 FRED MURRAY (COVER)


Fred Murray photographed Danny MacAskill’s amazing tricks for our cover story (page 32). But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. 04  


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Athens true wireless sports headphone is designed to give you total freedom, no matter what your sport. With the IP67 waterproof rating, you can run, swim and sweat freely with your earphones. The stylish complimentary charging case provides you with 3 additional full charges, each lasting up to 8 hours. With 32 hours of total playtime and a case so compact that it fits effortlessly into your pocket, Athens is your perfect workout companion – designed for life in motion.


Misty mountain drop: why take a boring ski lift when you can rappel from a Zeppelin?


February/ March 2020


08  Birch control: downhill riding

in the forests of Colorado 10  Cosmic tricks: ski-jumping that’s out of this world 11  New balance: a slacklining first in French Polynesia 12  Chamber of secrets: swimming the underground rivers of Yucután 15  Off season: Nicolas Godin of electronic-pop duo Air provides an antidote to the winter blues 17  Release the bats: Ping Pong Pang is like no game of table tennis you’ve ever played before 18 Surfing a purpose: we’ve seen the future of wetsuits – and it’s scary 20  Frame of mind: Reuben Dangoor, the man who made grime a fine art – in the literal sense 22 Big shot: expert tips for budding adventure photographers

24  Dolya Gavanski

The filmmaker revealing the secret history of Soviet women

26  J oe Simpson

The Touching The Void author on the moment that changed his life

3 0  Emmanuel Jal and Nyaruach

The Afropop stars who escaped war but paid the price for fame

3 2  Danny MacAskill

The MTB rider gives a whole new meaning to ‘exercise bike’

42  U nderground radio

Meet the people keeping the spirit of pirate radio alive online

50  Z eppelin ski drop

Three Austrian adventurers, one airship and an audacious plan

72 Sailing, skiing, summits and

shores: we take an Arctic adventure to the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway 76 Cool runnings: obstacle course racing legend Jonathan Albon talks us through his sub-zero training regime 80 Flying out of the pits: how the record-breaking mechanics of Red Bull Racing nailed their jawdropping pit stop in zero gravity 82 Essential dates for your calendar 83 This month’s highlights on Red Bull TV 85 Fully equipped: the most desirable tech and cutting-edge gear you can get your hands on 88 Dark materials: the best new kit for nocturnal runners 98 Head in the clouds: high-altitude BMX skills in the French Alps

58  Ultrarunning

Wise words from the trailing pack




Forest jump

Jubal Davis’ dad owned a bike shop, but still the young Ohio native resisted the joys of riding until adulthood, only coming around via motocross. “I sold my motorbikes, moved out to Colorado, bought a downhill bike and began going to the mountains,” says Davis, now a downhill rider on the Yeti Cycles team. This amazing photo of Davis jumping through birch trees, shot by photographer Craig Grant, is just one image from an inspiring biking edit by Yeti that showcases Colorado’s beautiful wilderness.



Space oddity

Photos of big air jumps are not uncommon: look online and you’ll find numerous images of spectacular tricks. This shot of German skier Sven Kueenle, however, is different. When British photographer Pally Learmond first caught sight of the white suit, he saw Kueenle not as an athlete, but as a man sent from space. “Armed with the spaceman analogy, it was obvious to me that we needed to see Sven flying,” explains Learmond. “The result was this perfect shot of spaceman Sven leaving a trail of snow like the Milky Way across the deep blue Lofoten sky.” Instagram: @pallylearmond


Middle distance “I’d visualised this photo for a few days – and dreamt about it quite a few times, too,” says French photographer Jeremy Bernard. The 370m slackline – set up 72m above Sharks Bay in 50kph winds, and walked by Bernard’s compatriot Nathan Paulin – was the first ever to be attempted on Ua Pou Island in French Polynesia. “Everything can come together in a second and then completely disappear the second after,” says the photographer. “At that time, everything came together. After the rain comes the sun.” Instagram: @jeremy_bernard_photography 



Hidden depths

The rivers of Yucatán can’t be seen from the surface; instead, they flow through concealed cave systems underground. When the water drops and the caves are no longer flooded, stalactites are formed on the ceiling and the walls. When it rises again, divers swim through the tunnels and explore a unique underwater realm. Czech photographer Petr Polách took this shot while swimming with local cave expert David Dušek (pictured), using five flashes to create a tunnel of light and interesting shadow play.


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Music for blue sky thinkers As one half of platinum-selling electronic-pop duo Air, Godin takes the listener on a journey to other worlds. Here, the French musician shares four tunes that help him escape bleak winter days Moon Safari, the 1998 debut from French group Air, is one of the most iconic electronic music albums of all time. Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel’s unique blend of retro-pop melodies and analogue synthesiser sounds – inspired by the duo’s love of soft-porn soundtracks, disco funk and easy-listening tunes from the ’70s – attracted widespread acclaim, and Moon Safari was followed by five further studio albums, a spoken-word collaboration and two film soundtracks. Godin’s new (second) solo album, Concrete and Glass, sees the 50-yearold transport his audience to a happier, more peaceful place, so it’s only fitting that when we asked him for a playlist he suggested four songs to beat the winter blues. Concrete and Glass is out on January 24;

Kool & The Gang



Summer Madness (1974) “Most cities are depressing when the weather is bad, so it’s good to escape – at least in your mind. I do that by listening to songs about summer, like this classic [famously sampled on DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s 1991 hit Summertime]. I love watching the sunset on a beautiful beach. This song is made for that – just close your eyes and listen.” THE RED BULLETIN 

Roy Ayers Ubiquity

João Gilberto

Elton John

“In the ’70s, I watched TV all day long. That’s where I got to learn everything I know about music. Roy Ayers’ songs were featured in a lot of the films and shows of the time, and that’s where I stole everything for Air: the keyboards, the pads, the Minimoog [vintage synth]. Besides, this tune is all about the sun, so it’s perfect for escaping the winter blues.”

“My wife is from Brazil, where January and February are summer, so if it gets depressing here, we go over there. We stay by the beach, there are palm trees everywhere, and it’s very relaxed; everybody wears beach sandals. And we’ll listen to a lot of Brazilian music – something with sunshine in it. This is my one of my favourite songs of all time. It’s perfect for winter. It makes me feel warm and tender.”

“I’m a big fan of Elton John. He’s an amazing composer and his songs have an uplifting melancholy. I love listening to them when the weather is so bad you just stay home. I’ll sit in my living room with its velvet curtains and these beautiful old McIntosh amps from the ’70s that sound fucking cool. This song is a good choice, I think. Put it on and you’ll be fine.”

Everybody Loves The Sunshine (1976)

Estate (1977)

Song For Guy (1978)







Nuit Blanche, or White Night – a night-time arts festival held in various cities around the world – attracts light exhibitions, performances, sculptures and paintings of all kinds. When French design team Exercice were commissioned to create a piece for last year’s event in Paris, they tried something completely left-field: the duo invented Ping Pong Pang – an artistic reimagining of the game of table tennis. Forget standard head-tohead and doubles matches – Exercice’s creation observes entirely different rules, with three new table designs and a selection of 12 bats of various sizes and shapes, ranging from triangles to pentagons. The tables draw inspiration from diverse sources. The first, made for multiple players, has three small tables arranged in accordance with the concept of triolectics – a logic system conceived by Danish avantgarde artist Asger Jorn. The second (pictured right) draws on the culture of drinking games, with a long figure-ofeight-shaped table top and a ‘net’ that looks better suited to beer pong than to ping pong. The final table (above) throws caution to the wind with angular upturned sides that make the ball ricochet in unpredictable directions. While these new versions of the enduring game may be fun, the thinking behind them THE RED BULLETIN 


A whole new ball game French art duo Exercice have deconstructed ping pong and created something totally bizarre

Turning the tables: the aim here is to get the ball in the holes

is intensely abstract and theoretical. “Exercice aims to develop the Ping Pong Pang project by creating new ephemeral and durable singular playgrounds, encouraging a collective fabrication of rules that aim to facilitate an informal exchange,” says Gwendal Le Bihan, one half of the art duo. Food for thought, or perhaps merely a distraction from the most important requirement here: mastering some insane new forms of ping pong.   17

3. SMART SEAMS Using built-in ironoxide nanorods, these track bacteria levels, water toxicity and air quality, and light up to indicate dangerously high radiation levels 2





Toxic waves Two marine specialists have teamed up to envision the future of surfing – it’s terrifying and amazing at the same time


4. CONTROL CENTRE This is where the raw data from the smart seams is processed. The data is accessed via the touchscreen and sent to the mask 5. ANTI-R JERSEY Woven from polyester threads, nano particles of lead and anti-algal substances, the suit’s material inhibits radiation and pollutants



2. GRIP PADS Located on the torso, shoulders, elbows, knees and feet, these ensure adhesion in oily conditions

Imagine the scene: the tide is low and the waves are pumping, so you grab your board and head down to the beach for an early morning surf session. On the sand, you pull on your wetsuit, gloves, booties and full-face mask, switch on your respirator, and look at the glowing dashboard on your arm to check the current bacteria levels, water toxicity, radiation and air quality. Then off you run towards the infected water, safely protected by your suit’s toxin-and-radiation-absorbing bio-defence system… This is the terrifying image that surf brand Vissla and nonprofit environmental protection organisation the Surfrider Foundation have created with their conceptual Rising Seas wetsuit – a futuristic bio-defence suit designed to enable surfers to “face the emerging ecological crisis” while in the water. The garment will tell you when solar radiation is dangerously high, protect your body from toxins, and send messages of caution through an LED display mask. “We wanted to design something high-tech that people would really want, like when the newest gadget or iPhone comes out,” says Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation. “Hopefully they’d then be hit with the reality of how sad and scary it is that we might need something like this in the future.” As yet, this wetsuit is only a concept, engineered by the two companies to make the public sit up and take notice, but they claim it could soon become the norm if we don’t quickly change our ways. “You could really wear this wetsuit in certain places in the world today,” says Vince De La Peña, Vissla’s vice president of global marketing. “There are places where the water pollution is already that bad.”


1. LED DISPLAY MASK This presents data from the control centre in a visual form


P:Tim Zimmerman


The Instagram artist who bridges disparate elements of modern life and brought grime to the gallery

Clockwise from above: the antiBrexit Nahmate; General of Newham (grime star D Double E); Baron von Marlon (The Streets’ Mike Skinner); Redemption, with Gareth Southgate consoling ‘himself’ at Euro ’96


In the summer of 2018, England was a country obsessed with everything related to football and the World Cup. Amid this madness emerged an improbable hero: London-based artist Reuben Dangoor, who captured the public’s imagination with his sketches of the tournament, which he posted on Instagram. “Art and football are kind of at odds – it’s not a partnership people generally think of,” says Dangoor, reflecting on why his work was greeted with such excitement. “I got messages from big, burly sports fans who don’t usually interact with art, telling me, ‘I just bought one of your prints – it’s on the wall in my house.’ Gareth Southgate’s wife called me to ask if I could repaint my picture of him [Redemption] for his study.”

This isn’t the first time that Dangoor’s art has reached an unlikely audience: his 2015 portrait series Legends of the Scene – in which he painted grime superstars including Skepta and Dizzee Rascal as landed gentry – propelled him into mainstream consciousness, prompting exhibitions at Tate



Spitting images

Britain and the Glastonbury Festival, and landed him the job of tour-set designer for another of his subjects, Stormzy. “When the grime pictures were at Tate Britain, you had a bunch of kids who were passionate and knowledgeable about grime but hadn’t ever been to the gallery before,” says Dangoor. “They’d never felt like it offered them anything. It’s cool that they could turn up at the Tate and realise that, with my art, they were actually the experts in the room.” Football and art, grime and the aristocracy: Dangoor’s work bridges seemingly disparate parts of British society, bringing them together. “People can read into my work and take out what they want – it’s not one hundred per cent serious,” he says. “Some people might view art as highbrow or worthy, but I’m just making niche pieces, often with a punchline that resonates with people.” Dangoor plans to announce his first solo exhibition later this year, but in the meantime check out his artwork on Instagram: @reubendangoor





“Badlands are a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been greatly eroded,” says Burkard. “They’re often difficult to navigate by foot”

Essential tips for budding professional adventure photographers – courtesy of one of the most accomplished snappers in the business

If you’re a fan of adventure, chances are that you’ve heard of Chris Burkard (right). The US photographer, creative director, speaker and author is one of the most respected names in the business, known for his talent for capturing the spirit of the outdoors. “I grew up in Central Coast, California, surrounded by wide-open spaces my entire life,” says Burkard of his entry into the world of adventure 22  

Define your vision Have a mission statement of what you want to achieve with your work.

Don’t try to be everything at once Pick something that you want to specialise in, and become undeniably the best in that particular niche.

The best photographers are the best researchers Remember that Google Earth is your best friend!

No one will invest in you until you’re prepared to invest in yourself Be willing to take risks on projects, even if the short-term benefits are unclear.

Have a backup system for your images Unfortunately, I learnt this lesson the hard way. THE RED BULLETIN


Keeping focus

photography. “When I was a teenager, my then-girlfriend’s mum gave me an old film camera, so naturally I took it to the beach to shoot my friends surfing. That entire experience changed my life.” A few years later, Burkard has built up his name and his brand so successfully that he now spends his time roaming the globe with his camera. It’s a lifestyle that he believes anyone can work towards if they have enough passion and focus. “You must have a clear mission statement of what you want to achieve with your work,” he says. “I think many times people are unclear of why they want to get into this field. But having a clear vision is crucial. This will be your guiding light when things get tough.” Here are Burkard’s insider tips for anyone thinking of making a living from shooting the great outdoors…



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Dolya Gavanski

As International Women’s Day approaches, we talk to the filmmaker who found out what that means to women living in the former Soviet Union Words JESS HOLLAND Photography OSSI PIISPANEN

From the pioneering cosmonaut who flew a solo space mission to a presentday Instagram star, what were the past 100 years of Soviet and Russian history like for the women who lived through them? This question is answered by Women’s Day, subtitled Daughters of the Russian Revolution, a documentary by Dolya Gavanski, a writer, actor and director whose formative years – the ’80s and early ’90s – were split between Belgrade, Samarkand (in Uzbekistan), St Petersburg and Moscow. Now based in London, she is best known to gamers as the voice of the pinkhaired Siberian soldier Zarya in the first-person shooter Overwatch. After a London screening of Women’s Day, Gavanski explained to The Red Bulletin what drew her to the narrative of the film, which encompasses AI technologists, feminist dissidents, dancers, Stalingrad siege survivors, and the key to great sex in a communal flat: “At some point, you no longer care.” the red bulletin: How did you come to choose Women’s Day as a narrative thread? dolya gavanski: I did an exhibition in London a few years ago looking at how Soviet propaganda portrayed women. On March 8 [International Women’s Day], they would film a lot to show the achievements of the state. You see all these women going into war or engaging in very hard labour and still smiling. I wanted to see the reality behind these smiling faces, because we all grew up with these contradictions. On the one hand, you’re told everything’s amazing; on the other, there are gulags and many, many victims. 24  

Was it important to capture both sides of this? Yes, I wanted to give these women the space to talk and not to try to impose my view on them. Take the veteran of Stalingrad, for example. Her life has been marked by the war, so who am I to judge her? I don’t agree with a lot of her views, but I haven’t gone through [what she has]. She’s 95. Her whole flat is red and she has all the [Soviet] memorabilia. After three hours of conversation, she broke down and said, “I’m still there. I’m still at war. I can’t leave the war.” Was it hard to shake off the ‘Young Pioneer’ mindset of your youth? I grew up in Belgrade, which was a bit different [from the Soviet Union], but still it was very much socialism. I remember coming back from school when I was about seven and asking my mum, “Who am I meant to love more: you or [late Yugoslav president] Tito?” There’s a certain romanticism to it. You’re part of the bigger social corps, which is powerful to an impressionable child. Then, by the time I was 11, everything was falling apart and Yugoslavia went through a civil war. Suddenly you don’t really have a country any more. Are you nostalgic for that time? Nostalgia exists more among older generations, because they felt more secure. But there are plenty who can’t bear the word Soviet, because their family histories were tragic. In the film, you discuss going on a date to McDonald’s after the fall of the Iron Curtain… There was hysteria at the time about McDonald’s, which cost the same as

Was Nobel Prize winner Svetlana Alexievich an obvious inclusion? Yes, her book The Unwomanly Face of War gives space for a different type of voice to be heard. The usual [WWII narrative] would be the great heroic achievements. Here you see: “What’s it like when there are no sanitary pads?” She says that men betrayed women after the war, because they wanted a beautiful woman, not one who smelt of war. Also prominent is Pasha Angelina, the leader of an all-female tractor brigade in the ’30s… She was from a small village in Ukraine and became this glorified symbol of a successful woman. Her daughter told me that letters just marked ‘Pasha Angelina, USSR’ would get to their village. Why did you also include a young make-up artist working today? It’s linked with the idea of what a women is meant to be like now. In the Soviet period, a woman was not supposed to dress in colourful clothes. Make-up was seen as a bourgeois, frivolous Western thing. Have current affairs sparked renewed interest in Soviet history? Without understanding Soviet culture, it’s almost impossible to have a proper take on Eastern Europe in general. But also, yes, we’re probably questioning a lot of things at the moment. How do we structure society for the greatest good of all? How can women have equal rights if there are no provisions for childcare? Also, it’s very tense [politically], so why is Russia like this at the moment? It’s an interesting time.



The other Mother Russia

a meal in a restaurant. There were only a couple of places open then. The first night club in Moscow was called Night Flight and it was full of foreigners, prostitutes, kids and the mafia. It was the most surreal world. There wasn’t much, but there was a great sense of freedom. Everything was changing. There were no set rules.

”I wanted to give all these women the space to talk” THE RED BULLETIN 


Joe Simpson

Staying alive

We had a 3,000ft face to get down. He was thinking I was dead.

Rapid descent

What drives a person to survive when all hope is gone? This climber lived to tell, and his story has become one of mountaineering’s greatest legends Words TOM GUISE Photography SAM RILEY

First, it was the stuff of folklore: a whispered tale about two young British climbers – 25-year-old Joe Simpson and 21-year-old Simon Yates – who, in 1985, became the first to scale the West Face of the 6,344m Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. A moment of triumph that quickly became a living nightmare. On the descent, Simpson plunged down an ice cliff, shattering his leg. As night fell, and with a storm rapidly closing in, they were forced to continue in the dark, separated by just 45m of rope and with no way of communicating. When the injured Simpson was inadvertently lowered over a cliff, Yates hung on for more than an hour before making a devastating decision: he cut the rope, sending his companion plunging to certain death. But Simpson survived, and four days later he crawled into base camp. Three years later, he gave his account in a best-selling book, Touching the Void, which was adapted into a documentary in 2003 and now into a West End play. It’s a startling case study of a man facing death, but one that’s absolutely about living. “Would I have cut the rope? In Simon’s situation, without a doubt,” Simpson tells The Red Bulletin. “My only criticism is that it took him more than an hour to remember the only knife we had was in the top pocket of his rucksack. The real question is: if it had been in my rucksack and I could feel Simon being pulled down, would I have cut the rope to save him? I don’t think I would.” Today, at 59 years old, Simpson is a successful author and motivational speaker. “I hate the expression ‘motivation’ – it’s bollocks,” he says, 26  

sipping a cup of tea in his Derbyshire home. Simpson is a man of contradictions. It’s to be expected from someone who, by all accounts, should have died, but instead makes a living from the story of his survival. More than 30 years later, Simpson re-examines what it was like to touch – and very nearly cross – the void…

The moment that changed everything

About a third of the way down the ice cliff, I was thinking, “Don’t fall here,” because Simon was coming down and there was slack rope between us. I put my right axe in and the ice disintegrated. I landed at the base of the cliff. My right leg locked backwards, my crampons maximising the force. It punched my tibia up into my femur and it carried on through my knee joint. I tore my anterior cruciate ligament, damaged my peroneal nerve, destroyed two menisci [cartilages] in my knee and fractured my heel and ankle. The pain was excruciating. I was in denial at first, so I tried to stand and felt all these bones going. When Simon appeared, he asked if I was alright. When I told him I’d broken my leg, his whole expression changed. Before, we were equal partners working together; now, suddenly, one of us was an invalid.

“People have this idea of what survival is about. But it’s brutal”

I’d probably lost a quart of blood [almost a litre] internally. I was going down as fast as Simon could lower me. Every 150ft, the knot joining our two ropes would come up and hit Simon’s friction device. That was my signal to get my weight off the rope. Simon would unclip, put the knot on the other side of the device, give three tugs and start lowering me again. After an hour, we were 300ft down. We only had to do it 10 more times to get to the bottom of the mountain, but we didn’t realise we were in line with this ice cliff sticking out from the slope. At 9.30pm, Simon lowered me off the edge and I came to a stop with about 100ft of air and the shadow of a covered crevasse beneath me. The knot had reached his friction device. My weight was on the rope and he couldn’t get the knot over; we were locked into the system and going to die. Simon hung on for what seemed like a lifetime, then I found myself freefalling.

The ice tomb

I hit the ridge of the crevasse and went through. I smashed into an old collapsed part of the roof and stopped. I saw the hole in the roof 70-plus feet above me and thought, “Simon has gone flying. He’s gone.” I pulled on the rope, thinking it would come tied to his body – I could use it as a counterweight and climb up the rope. The end of the rope lashed down around me. Simon had cut it. People ask, “Were you angry with Simon?” I wasn’t. I thought, “Thank Christ, Simon’s alive.” Apart from being my friend, he was useful to me alive. He might be coming down to look for me. Then I thought to myself, “Shit, he won’t find you in the dark, so you have to scream his name as loudly as you can every five minutes.” Crevasses are scary places to be in, especially if the thought creeps in that you’re not getting out. I had this image of a long death and it burnt me to pieces. I’m really quite ashamed, because I broke down. By about 9.30 in the morning, I realised Simon should have found me. THE RED BULLETIN

“People ask, ‘Were you angry with Simon?’ I wasn’t”



Unstoppable force: Simpson climbs the North Spur of the 6,162m-high Ranrapalca in Peru’s Cordillera Blanca mountain range in 1994

The escape

I tried to climb up, but I couldn’t. When I looked down, I could see only darkness. This crevasse was a bergschrund – the separation between the glacier and the mountain base. They can be 50ft or 500ft deep. I didn’t have the courage to just jump off. I clipped my abseil device, but I deliberately chose not to tie a knot in the end of the rope; I thought, “Look, if I get down there and I’m hanging in space, why would I want to climb back up and spend six days dying?” About 70ft below, avalanches had created a choke point and a slope that was probably 65°. On this unconsolidated snow, I could manage that with hopping jumps. I wasn’t considering how to survive, just how to get out. If I was going to die, I wanted to do it in sunlight. 28  

Slow crawl

I stuck my head out of the crevasse at about one o’clock in the afternoon and sat there giggling manically. I saw Simon’s rope off to the left; he’d abseiled down the glacier. I now knew I was on my own – you don’t come back for a corpse. That was a sobering moment. I was a long way from base camp: a mile and a half of crevasse glacier, then six-and-a-half miles of moraines [mounds of debris left by

glaciers] and rocks. When you’re trying to survive, the last thing you need is emotion: it’s a waste of energy. Part of me was pragmatic, thinking how far I could go, what state my body was in, and how little food I had. My conclusion was, “You won’t make it.” But I thought, “If you die here, you’ll be buried in snow and disappear for ever. Nobody will ever know what’s happened to you.” I crawled for the next three-and-a-half days.

Survival mode

“I was just crawling to the end of the end game, to die there”

When you’re alone for a long time – no data coming in, no conversations, nothing to read or see – your mind drifts. I would think I’d rested for five minutes, but then I’d look at my cheap, crappy watch and 45 minutes had gone by. I went, “Right, I’m going to get to that crevasse in 20 minutes. THE RED BULLETIN

Joe Simpson

Then I’m going to get to that red rock in 20 minutes.” It created structure and discipline. Sometimes I’d beat the target and I was made up; other times I’d lose and I was pissed off. But it kept me from the big picture of “you’re completely fucked”. On the last night, I started to fail. I was probably 10 minutes’ walk from base, but it took me nine hours. I was in and out of consciousness and experiencing hallucinations, some enjoyable, others weird. I stopped looking at my watch, so I lost all sense of purpose. I was probably dying. I shouted, hoping that Simon and Richard [Hawking, their camp assistant] would hear me. They did, but they thought I was a dog. Why would it occur to them that it was me? I’d been dead for four days now. That was the point where it was completely crushing.


End game

In a funny way, it was a confirmation of what I’d thought when I’d started crawling: “You are not getting out of this.” It was a lonely place to be. I remember debating whether to get into my sleeping bag, but I thought that if I did I wouldn’t get out of it again. I thought that if I crawled

“All it taught me is that I don’t want to know my own death” down to the riverbed, someone would definitely find my body. I wasn’t expecting to meet anybody but just crawl to the end of the end game, to die there. It was quite horrible. I inadvertently crawled through our campsite latrine area and got covered in human faeces. Human shit really does stink. But it acted like smelling salts and suddenly I knew where I was: within 100 yards of where the tents had been. I assumed [Simon and Richard] had left, so I sat there feeling sorry for myself. I knew this was where it would end. But I hadn’t considered that Simon also needed to recover and was in no rush to get home to tell all our friends he’d just killed me. I saw a red-and-yellow dome-like thing that I thought was a spaceship. Then these white beams came out and I heard Simon’s voice. People have this idea of what survival is about, but the reality is that it’s brutal. You get destroyed on several levels: physically you’re not putting any fuel in and eventually you just stop working. On a psychological level, you go through stuff that really fucks with your head. You don’t only learn that you’re strong, but that you’re incredibly weak, too. You’re breaking down all the time. I had accepted the situation, so it was a shock when Simon and Richard suddenly appeared. I just collapsed.

Being found

I’d lost about 35 per cent of my body weight. When you’re in a state of starvation, your body uses ketones [chemicals created by the liver] to break down the protein in your muscles and organs, and your breath has a sweet smell like nail varnish remover. Simon smelt my breath and knew I was going into ketoacidosis; I was dying. I needed a salt and sugar drip, but we didn’t have any tubes or needles. We didn’t know at the time, THE RED BULLETIN 

but there is a simple way of doing it: fill a bottle with sugar and saltwater and stick it up your arse. With people to look after me, I suddenly stopped having to survive. I got quite scared, probably because I’d been running on endomorphins and adrenalin for four days. Barely conscious, we rode a mule for two days, then spent 23 hours in a pickup truck. I was quite pissed off: I wanted to sleep, but Simon was so worried about the state I was in, he wanted me to get to medical help. The bloody mule walked into everything. I just thought, “When the fuck is this going to end?” Eleven days after I’d broken my leg, I got to hospital.


A lot of people say, “An experience like that must have changed your life, your attitude to death; you must feel stronger.” All it taught me is that I don’t want to know my own death. I also learnt that Simon and I were bloody good mountaineers, because if we’d been bumbling amateurs we would not have got out of that shit. Afterwards, people decided Simon was in the wrong, but they had no understanding of what actually happened. So I wrote [the first draft of] Touching the Void in about seven weeks. I thought people were going to get pissed off with me for being a wuss. But then it became this huge success. It taught me I could write. I gave slideshows to the climbing community, got into corporate speaking, and that’s where I now make a comfortable living. Standing and talking in front of people is not an easy thing, and that’s why I like it. The reason I like mountaineering is not because it’s dangerous or scary, but because there is a price to pay if you screw up. It’s about mastering a skill, and now I’m a skilled speaker. What really changed my life was not the shit time I had in Peru, but that if it hadn’t happened I probably wouldn’t be financially secure. I know I should have a greater philosophical insight, but that’s the truth. Joe Simpson’s latest ebook, Walking the Wrong Side of the Grass, is on Kindle. Touching the Void is at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, until February 29;   29

Emmanuel Jal and Nyaruach

From surviving the civil war in Sudan as children to performing for Nelson Mandela, these Afropop siblings are committed to promoting hope Words JESS HOLLAND

When Sudanese musician Emmanuel Jal performs, he expresses joy with his whole body: flailing limbs, whipping hair, bouncing on the spot. His sister and creative collaborator Nyaruach – she goes by only a single name – has more poise, but is just as animated. On Gatluak, a song from the duo’s 2018 album Naath, she sings in her mother tongue, Nuer, castigating a shifty potential lover over an irresistible dance beat. This uplifting experience seems at odds with the siblings’ stories. In the early ’80s, as small children, they were separated from their family during the second Sudanese civil war, which killed an estimated two million people. By seven, Emmanuel was in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, as detailed in his memoir, War Child: A Child Soldier’s Story. Nyaruach endured rape by government officials, and both lost countless loved ones, some killed in front of their eyes. Ultimately, both were able to escape to Kenya, where they were reunited, and in 2005 they sang together on Emmanuel’s breakout hit Gua (‘Peace’). Since then, Emmanuel has played at Live 8: Africa Calling; co-starred in a movie with Reese Witherspoon (2014’s The Good Lie), and founded an NGO. While her brother is now based in Toronto, Nyaruach has been living in a Kenyan refugee camp with her two kids. The contrast between the trauma of their lives and the buoyancy of


their music is striking, but, as they explain from a north London Airbnb the afternoon before a packed gig in Camden, it makes sense. “We want to lift people,” Emmanuel says. “We want them to walk home light.” the red bulletin: Emmanuel, what have been the most exciting moments of your career so far? emmanuel jal: If you’re talking about turning points, Live 8 was one. And performing for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday. Touring with Aaliyah, and with Lauren Hill, and doing songs with Alicia Keys were amazing, too. The two of you have been working together since Emmanuel’s debut album, released in 2004… ej: She wasn’t taking it seriously then, but the song that gave me international attention [2005 single Gua] was the one she and her friends were in. It became a number one on Kenyan radio. They don’t know what it’s saying; they just love it. Are you recognised on the street? ej: Yeah, Nyaruach went viral after Gatluak went crazy. Sometimes she goes to restaurants and doesn’t have to pay the bill. It’s like, “All paid.” “By who?” “Ah, I don’t know, a fan.” Nyaruach, you had to leave Kenya recently – why was that? n: When I came here [to the UK on a 2018 tour] and then went back to Nairobi, government agents were trying to call me on a private number. If they can call you, they can kidnap you and kill you, so you have to run. So I don’t sleep in the house where my children are. I have to sleep in different houses and switch off my

What are your hopes for the future? n: To be like [Emmanuel]. I want to help people who need it. In South Sudan, women are bowing down to men. They don’t allow women to have jobs. I want to fight for women and teach them through my music. Are there other messages you’re communicating with your songs? ej: The coolest thing with music – and sport – is that tribes fade away. When I was a child soldier, I hated Muslims and my desire was to kill as many as possible. I don’t feel like that now, but at the time I was confused when they brought a Muslim singer to do a show for us. I couldn’t understand. Everyone was [fighting] to be at the front [of the audience]: soldiers, children, refugees. It was amazing! Music has no boundaries. It’s like the wind. It’s like love. Instagram: @ nyaruachmusic;



Front line to centre stage

phone. I was scared. It’s like the government of South Sudan [are in contact] with the government of Nairobi. I got involved in politics because of what I’ve seen. If you lose your father, mother or sister, you cannot keep quiet, even if you will be killed; I have to say it is wrong. This is not the way women talk in South Sudan, because they don’t have a voice. Now, there’s nowhere to live. I ran away from South Sudan, then from Nairobi. I need to continue my music. I’m now trying to get asylum here. I’ve been in Liverpool for two months, but I’m homeless. We sleep in a big hall, like soldiers, waiting for the home office to give us housing. ej: In the area we come from, 60 people close to our family got killed. Our brother was shot on the phone as he talked to our younger brother. People are being targeted, especially where we come from. So now I talk about it, she talks about it. The issues that are hard to communicate are rape, kidnapping and mass killing. If [Nyaruach] goes into a refugee camp now, she’s visible; she’s famous, so she can’t hide. And there are spies there who could get you kidnapped.

“Music has no boundaries. It’s like the wind. It’s like love”



MENTAL WORKOUT DANNY MACASKILL loathes the gym, but for his new film the MTB star devised a session that pushed both his body and his mind to the limit

Words RACHAEL SIGEE  Photography FRED MURRAY 32  

Let’s get physical: MacAskill created this custom ‘hook to front flip’ for the gym. “It’s rare to ride anything in the street with lift,” he says, “so I wanted to use a springboard”

Danny MacAskill



t’s late November and the first morning of filming for Danny MacAskill’s new video. He’s sitting in his van outside the venue, and right now he doesn’t exactly have a plan… “At this point, I’ve got no idea how it’s gonna go,” says the Scot. “Until you start getting stuff on camera, you never think you can do anything. I’ve got rough ideas for half of it, but a lot of them are hundreds of goes away.” He’s only exaggerating slightly. After a decade as one of the world’s best-known street-bike trials riders, performing in videos that have generated tens of millions of views on YouTube, MacAskill couldn’t be more qualified. He’s just making the point that, even at his sky-high level, there’s still a lot that could go wrong. When MacAskill arrives at a day of riding, it’s all a matter of control: being in the right headspace and connecting with his environment. “It’s very much a feeling,” he explains. “So much of it is in the mind. You can kind of force your body to do anything.” Although the new film is being shot in his current home town of Glasgow, it’s set in a location that MacAskill is not exactly familiar with: the gym. “I only go 34  

when it’s mandatory,” he confesses. “Most of the time I’ve spent in the gym has been for rehab after injuries, usually broken bones of some kind.” Luckily, this is not your typical gym workout, or even a ‘New Year, new you’style fitness video. MacAskill will be skipping the traditional induction where a personal trainer demonstrates the machines and instead be doing his own thing on the bike. “We’ve got all the apparatus you might expect to find [in a standard gym], from a CrossFit area to more traditional exercise balls, steps and free weights. Then we’ve got an area that’s a bit more gymnasticsbased, with trampettes and [vaulting] horses and balance beams.” MacAskill has spent the last week “like a kid in a play park”, familiarising himself with the set before the cameras start rolling. He explains that a lot of the filmmaking process is trial and error: “The idea is that lots of things are hopefully going to be falling over or wobbling around, and you don’t know if that’s gonna work until you actually jump on them on your bike. It’s been fun trying a bit of this or that, and then you have this occasional ‘Eureka!’ moment where

Gymnastic fantastic: “I wanted to hop to a fakie nose manual along a balance beam,” says MacAskill of this trick (turn the page to see his visualisation ‘stick-man’ sketch). “Balancing on a front wheel while moving backwards on it is tricky” THE RED BULLETIN

Above: MacAskill experiences a moment of inspiration. Below: tackling the slacklike-to-slackline jump trick. “One millimetre out and the tyre slips off,” he says of the challenge. “This one will take hundreds of attempts.”

you’re like, ‘It might take me a hundred tries, but I know that’s gonna work.’” But before he gets to this point – the brink of hurling himself (and his bike) around the gym, and with an entire film crew dependent on him nailing tricks – MacAskill will already have spent hours mentally mapping out what he wants to do. “I visualise the world around me, as everything is like an edge to ride on. And I draw a lot of stick-man sketches. It’s nothing fancy. I’m sure there are a lot of other athletes doing far more complicated work, but for me it’s just a little stick man that takes 10 seconds to draw.” His stickman riders accompany him everywhere in notebooks, and he’s constantly sketching out ideas, confident that even if they don’t make it into one project, he might use them for the next. They do look remarkably simple compared with the feats of strength, courage and blind faith that make it into MacAskill’s films, but the method has served him well thus far. “Sometimes, articulating a trick in writing doesn’t really have the same impact,” he says. “I’m definitely a visual person. Unless they’re what we call bangers – the really big tricks – a lot of [the sketches] are based around technically difficult stuff, so they conjure up different emotions when you look at



Danny MacAskill Drawing inspiration: 1. Hook to front flip; 2. Pylometric box hops; 3. Tyre tap and springboard 360; 4. Hopping on weights; 5. Balance-beam nose manual; 6. Slackline-toslackline jump; 7. Hippy hops; 8. Ghosty bump front flips










A privileged glimpse at a page of MacAskill’s sketchbook for the Gymnasium project. The tricks may looks basic on paper, but the devil’s in the detail. For example: “The weights wobble when I jump on them,” he says of trick 4, the ‘weight hops’. “I want them all to fall over behind me – it’s going to take hundreds of attempts.” And as for lengthy trick 8, the ‘ghosty bump front flips’: “It’s one of the more difficult things I’ve ever tried. You’re not in control of the bike when it’s doing its flip. If this one works, it will be a miracle.”



Danny MacAskill

Building blocks: an example of how the basic ideas in MacAskill’s early sketches – in this instance, the ‘plyometric box hops’ – evolve into much larger spectacles



Belting out the hits: MacAskill wheelies on a rapid treadmill. Opposite: contemplating a trick during filming. “I wanted to be creative with gym equipment. Everything is an edge to ride on”

Danny MacAskill

them. You can see the 400 goes it’s going to take you to land it.” Sometimes, the sketches can be a little too ambitious: “You have an idea, but it doesn’t translate to the real world – the bike doesn’t do what it’s told.” He admits there are a few tricks that have eluded him over the years, particularly when trying to execute them to his very high standards: “A 180 front flip is quite a simple trick on your feet off a trampette or trampoline, but put a bike between your hands and your feet and you can’t twist your body in the same way. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible – I’ve seen it done – but it’s not possible in the way I’d like to do it.” Talking to MacAskill, it’s immediately clear that the way he’d “like to do it” is the way things get done – on set, he’s in charge. He admits finding it hard to hand over control, and he’s relentless when it comes to nailing a trick. “If it takes me an extra 200 goes and another day to get rid of a hop from a specific line, then often I’ll do that. But it’s the only thing I’m like that about. I’m sat in my van right now and it’s a complete mess. With everything else, I’m like, ‘Och, it’ll be fine,’ but when it comes to my riding I’m a perfectionist.” That’s why it’s so essential that he makes films with a team he trusts: mostly friends he has worked with over and over again, such as Stu Thomson, the director THE RED BULLETIN 

“I VISUALISE THE WORLD AROUND ME, AS EVERYTHING IS LIKE AN EDGE TO RIDE” of this project, who also filmed MacAskill’s films Imaginate (2013) and The Ridge (2014). “I can focus on my riding and know that they’ve got camera angles to tell the story perfectly. Their minds are working the same way as mine. It’s a given that the way they’re going to cut it is probably the way I would, too.” One element he absolutely won’t be delegating is the music. While sketching stick men is an essential part of his process, listening to music might be even more fundamental: “Pretty much from when I wake in the morning to when I go to bed, there’s some kind of music playing, and when I’m listening to music it’s sparking ideas constantly.” It’s usually MacAskill himself who sources the songs that soundtrack his work, and he’s so dedicated that he even plans to get involved in actual music

production in future, to ensure that tunes fit exactly with his vision. “I spend a lot of time just going through playlists on my phone and visualising myself riding in the mountains in China or somewhere in a Mediterranean seaside town,” he says. “It makes me think of my sketches as well, to kind of tune into those ideas.” In an ideal world, MacAskill would have the music selected ahead of time and plan shooting around a track – “That would be a lot easier,” he sighs – but realistically this is a rare occurrence. As he prepares for the clapperboard to come down on the first take of the day, he doesn’t know what the final video will sound like. “I’ve spent the last few days frantically searching for the song. For me, the song is at least 50 per cent of it.” With long, gruelling days of riding and filming looming, what MacAskill does know is that he probably won’t be entirely satisfied. “In some ways, nothing is ever good enough for me,” he says, although he seems to have somewhat made peace with that. “I want to be able to look back on this in five years’ time and think, ‘Yeah, we might not have got every single trick that I wanted, but I got 95 per cent”. Five per cent off perfection. Danny MacAskill’s bar is still pretty high. Check out Danny MacAskill’s new film, Gymnasium, at   41


In the ‘90s, pirate stations ruled the airwaves. Three decades on, that spirit of rebellion is finding a new audience on the internet 42  


DJ Kamilla Rose hosts her daily show at the Foundation FM studio in Peckham Levels




Underground radio


riving around London in the early ’90s, you could turn the radio dial and find hundreds of illegal stations secretly transmitting via unlicensed aerials on the roofs of nearby tower blocks. Rebelling against the mainstream, these ‘pirates’ provided an easy access point to the capital’s underground music culture, from jungle and acid house to – at the turn of the millennium – the nascent grime scene. The stations gave immigrant communities programming in their native languages, championed local interests, and provided a platform for alternative music, all the while staying a step ahead of regulators desperate to shut them down. Fast forward to 2020 and the landscape is very different. While a handful of illegal FM stations still exist, they operate largely untroubled by regulators, and the days of pirates ruling London’s musical counterculture have passed. Now is the time of internet radio. A new generation of stations, as well as old pirates such as Rinse FM and Kool FM (now Kool London) that have been reborn online, have picked up the broadcasting baton. These crews no longer have to climb the sides of tower blocks in order to transmit

their shows, but instead use the freedom of the internet to share London’s underground vibes legitimately with little more than a laptop and a microphone. As the daughter of former Kiss FM legend Trevor Nelson and the goddaughter of pirate-radio icon and musician Jazzie B, London-based DJ/producer Shy One has a rare insight into the city’s underground radio scene. “My earliest memories of radio were going to Kiss [FM] when it was still a pirate [the station was finally granted a legal licence, on its second attempt, in December 1989],” she says. “I remember visiting my dad and knowing that it was the place that the stuff I listened to at home came from.” Having hosted her own shows on pirates as a teenager, Shy One (real name Mali Larrington-Nelson) is now a regular voice on many of London’s internet radio stations. “The internet has changed things,” she says. “Young people have gone there to do their own thing without having to pay an older person who has the equipment and knowledge for an FM station. Instead, you can figure it out, get your own equipment and set up a lot faster and for a lot less money.” These online stations are not only different in their method of transmission, but also in their musical output. “Whenever I hop in a car now and pick up a pirate, it’s like a different world that exists,” Shy One explains. “These pirates you come across play ‘bigpeople music’: reggae, rare groove, soul. The people who are still listening to them are older black people, people’s parents.” New stations online, however, are transmitting music of every genre for every kind of audience; among them are many different collectives such as Touching Bass, and BBZ for queer women of colour. “[Underground radio] is still a necessity,” says Shy

Right: flyers advertising a Balamii event are posted on the wall at Peckham Levels, a former car park turned creative events space. Opposite: DJ/producer Shy One



“If you turn on mainstream radio, it’s crap. It’s always the same stuff. You need to give people a diverse offering” – Shy One

Above: experienced radio professionals (from left) Becky Richardson, Ami Bennett and Frankie Wells founded Foundation FM (right) in 2018



Underground radio

“Foundation FM does what she wants – we just go along with her” One. “If you turn on mainstream radio, it’s crap. It’s just playlists and it’s unbearable because it’s always the same stuff. You need to give people a diverse offering; it’s essential to get certain types of music out there, to give actual space to let all people showcase their talents, because you’re not going to hear about it otherwise.”


ne of London’s most exciting underground stations is Balamii, owned by radio fanatic James Browning. Located at the back of a run-down shopping arcade on Rye Lane, south London, at the end of a long corridor illuminated with fluorescent strip lighting, the station’s HQ is easy to miss. Browning’s office – a windowless space around the same size as the single toilet with which it shares a wall – is behind the studio; in the corner is a bucket to catch water dripping from the ceiling. Balamii has stayed true to the spirit of underground community radio, with local DJs spinning every flavour from the surrounding area, from house to jazz to grime, techno and more. Reputable DJs, including Shy One, play shows alongside university students who are just starting out, and the station enforces a vibe of inclusivity and creative freedom, championing safe spaces and musical integrity. In the corner of Browning’s office is an old poster printed on A4. “That’s a flyer from the first event I ever put on, when I was 15,” he says. “When I was that age, I was always listening to pirates with friends in the car or at our houses. All of us had decks, so we’d just go around to each other’s places to make mixes.” From there, Browning went on to help out at Resonance FM at the age of 18, then he shadowed other radio DJs throughout his time at university in Brighton. It was more than a decade later, however, after years working in the capital, that he decided to take a risk and launch his own independent station based in the South London music scene he’d grown up with. “I’d wanted to run a radio station since I was a teenager – it had always been my dream – but I never thought it would happen,” he says. “Then, one day, I just thought, ‘Fuck it, I’m going to take all the money I’ve been saving for a house and spend it trying to do what I’ve always loved the most.’” After locating a suitable space by talking to people from the Peckham area, Browning set about building the station using resources from the community. “I went down the road and got all the timber from a local place and just built it with mates,” he says. “I spent my life savings on it. Then, when I ran out of cash, I borrowed the rest of the equipment.” From THE RED BULLETIN 

these modest beginnings, Balamii has grown into a fully-fledged station with listeners in the UK, Europe and America; it also runs events that attract hundreds of people from across the capital. “I still think that people have dedication to the cause of underground radio,” says Browning. “You don’t have to go running up on houses, putting aerials up and climbing shafts and shit like that, but you need to make sure you’re correct with the music you’re playing, the way it comes across and what you represent.”


ll internet radio does not look the same. Just down the road from Balamii, also on Rye Lane, is an entirely different kind of operation. Foundation FM was set up with a clear mission statement: “To showcase the hottest emerging talent in the underground music scene, led by a diverse group of women, LGTBQI+ persons and talented creatives, with women at the forefront.” Although the online station is entirely independent, Foundation FM’s co-founders – Becky Richardson, Ami

Chowa Nkonde works the desk during Balamii’s Wednesday night show on November 13, 2019. The studio in Peckham transmits live from 8am to 3am every day

Bennett and Frankie Wells – have extensive radio experience at BBC Radio 1Xtra, Capital Xtra, BBC Asian Network and Radar Radio. This station could rely on more than goodwill, local timber and borrowed speakers: it received funding from the outset, and the three women have a studio that can only be described as ‘Instagrammable’. Polaroids of all those who have appeared on the station are spread across the coffee table, and a rack of merchandise stands in the corner. A huge neon Foundation FM sign is reflected in the window of a professional studio where DJ Kamilla Rose (Boiler Room, BBC Radio 1Xtra) is in the middle of her daily show. While Foundation FM may share a mission statement with the original   47

Underground radio

independent stations, this is a world away from illegal aerials and police raids. “The whole [reason for setting up] Foundation was to provide a space for people who we thought had good things to say, or were doing great things, but didn’t have a place to do it,” Bennett explains. “I think there’s the same energy behind it as there was with pirate radio, but internet radio is that step between pirate and mainstream. You’ve got their freedom, but you’re still legit. You hear the stories about the pirate radio stations in the ’90s where you’d have to get a coat hanger to be able to listen to it, or the police would turn up and [the station owners] would have to pack up their gear and just leg it. Obviously, we’re in a space where this is a proper thing and we’re a company, but we’re still not creatively limited by anything. We can work with who we want and put whatever we want on air, which is an amazing place to be.” Foundation FM works as a breeding ground for women in the industry, to create a more equal environment at the very top. “We make sure that everyone who spends time with us gets something in return,” says Wells. “Whether that’s learning how to run a desk or produce a show or edit or whatever, if you come in and tell us what you need to know, as long as it’s possible, we’ll teach you how to do it. The more we do that, the more things are going to

Top: platters and Polaroids inside the studio at Balamii. Above: DJ Jon Phonics selects records for his Wednesday night show on the station. Opposite: DJs Lily and Ruby, aka Sweet Lemonade Sisters, in Holdrons Arcade – the inconspicuous retail space on Peckham’s Rye Lane that Balamii calls home



“Independent radio is a form of protest, because you’re occupying space” creep up and start to balance out at the top [of the industry], which is what we want.” The station works with programmes such as Normal Not Novelty – the workshop for female-identifying DJs – and also runs classes in radio for 16-to-18-year-olds. “When we ran a workshop, it was really eye-opening for us and the girls were all super-inspired,” says Wells. “How cool is that? We made an impact on them that could lead them to take a career in radio or music.” Foundation FM is now looking into staging more events outside the studio, and the station will be at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas, this March. “Internet radio is just a really exciting space to be in,” says Wells. “And as accessible as it is now, I think it’s going to become even more so. Being part of the first generation, we’re at the start of this change, so THE RED BULLETIN 

we can kind of direct it. Then again, Foundation is an entity all of her own and she does what she wants – we just go along with her.” While Balamii and Foundation FM are different in many ways, both epitomise the state of underground music in London in 2019: a scene that allows young people to lawfully create alternative narratives to the mainstream in a way that their counterparts in the ’90s couldn’t. Today’s broadcasters don’t need to hang aerials to share their music: instead, they utilise the internet tools available to them to create artistic spaces for many different cultures to exist. But while homegrown independent radio is no longer illegal, its relevance has not been diminished. “It’s still a form of protest, because you’re occupying space,” says Shy One. “Mainstream radio is very status quo: there’s no form of expression in there, and it’s all very contrived and programmed and strictly regulated. When people are independently creating and taking up space in the same medium, what they’re actually doing is making a really obvious, non-violent protest. One that is pro-community and pro-culture.”;   49

BIG-AIR SKIING Go large or go home. It’s a motto these freeskiers took to a whole new level as they ascended a mountain in a gondola… attached to a Zeppelin Words SABRINA LUTTENBERGER Photography MIRJA GEH, LENSECAPE PRODUCTIONS

Here comes the drop Ager, Gumpenberger and Lentsch rappel onto Austria’s Kleiner Valkastiel


Zeppelin ski drop

High achievers The view at 2,300m is epic. Only skilful pilots and

careful pre-flight calculations make such a high-altitude flight possible


o ski down a mountain, first you have to scale it, and human ingenuity has devised many solutions. The world’s first rudimentary cable-car system was built in 1644, chairlifts appeared in the late 1930s, and as skiers have ventured into ever wilder territory, so has the transportation, from big-tracked snowmobiles to heli-skiing – literally dropping from a helicopter onto the top of a run. But for three freeskiers aiming to ski from the 2,233m-high summit of Austria’s Kleiner Valkastiel last year, even these methods weren’t enough. They needed to think bigger. Much bigger. In the early part of the 20th century, Zeppelins ruled the skies. Named after their creator, the German inventor Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, these giant airships could cross oceans at speeds of around 84kph, sleeping more than 70 occupants in luxury (the later of these great vessels sported a dining room with a grand piano, and even a smoking lounge). By 1914, more than 10,000 fare-paying


Slowly does it The skiers used a belay – a device employed by skyscraper climbers to control their descent – when rappelling from the airship THE RED BULLETIN

“You step outside, take a look at yourself and wonder what on earth you‘re doing” Shaky start The Zeppelin was

constantly moving as the skiers climbed out to begin their descent

Zeppelin ski drop

Fully grounded

After 10 minutes of rappelling, the trio land on terra firma. Zeppelin skiing conditions are perfect: cold but windless and sunny

years of planning had delivered a world first

Sky giants How the aerial leviathans compare with other aircraft


Zeppelin NT Length: 75m Top speed: 125kph Range: 1,000km


Boeing 747-400 Length: 71m Top speed: 988kph Range: 13,450km


Space Shuttle Length: 37m Top speed: 28,000kph Range: 528km


Airbus AS 350 B3 Length: 13m Top speed: 287kph Range: 652km

1900 The first Zeppelin

1937 The catastrophe The LZ 129 Hindenburg catches fire while docking in Lakehurst, resulting in 36 fatalities and ending airship travel

1928 The heyday of airship travel The 236m-long LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin makes the first commercial transatlantic airship flight

1997 The comeback

The flight of the LZ 1 ends with an emergency landing after 18 minutes


The Zeppelin NT takes off on its first flight, providing sightseeing and research services


n 1929, Graf Zeppelin – the most successful of the original fleet, which clocked more than 1.6 million kilometres of service during its lifespan – undertook a 21-day, 34,000km round-the-world trip. During the longest leg of the journey – Friedrichshafen, Germany, to Tokyo – bad weather forced the leviathan to deviate from a planned tour over Moscow and fly instead via the Stanovoy mountain range in eastern Siberia. This involved an ascent to 1,800m, which proved no problem for the airship. So Ager and his comrades knew that reaching the summit of Kleiner


Peak pleasure High fives at 2,233m. Two

passengers had travelled on upwards of 1,500 Zeppelin flights. Today, this sounds like something from an alternate universe; for many, the most enduring image of the Zeppelin is the 245m-long Hindenburg – the largest ever flown – exploding above Lakehurst, USA, in 1937, resulting in the death of 36 people and the end of the giant airship era. But this was this mode of transport that the Austrian adventurers decided would be perfect for their epic endeavour. Skiers Stefan Ager and Andreas Gumpenberger and snowboarder Fabian Lentsch are used to ambitious backcountry runs, having previously tackled a 6,000m peak in Pakistan and hot-air ballooned to a summit, but this was something else. It’s not that the airships no longer exist: in 2000 the centenary of the first Zeppelin flight was celebrated with the christening of a prototype Zeppelin NT (New Technology) by none other than the count’s granddaughter. Its German creators, Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, were funded by an endowment held over from the original Zeppelin company and exclusively intended for the development of airships. Over the decades, the fund grew large enough to facilitate the construction of a new fleet of gargantuan dirigibles. But the lessons learnt from the Hindenburg run deep – these new airships are filled with inert helium, not flammable hydrogen, and are only intended to fly to an altitude of 1,000m. Kleiner Valkastiel’s height is more than twice that. “We needed it to go higher in order to get to the mountains,” says Ager.

“It was a challenge – not just for us as passengers, but for the pilots, too”

“Nobody had done this before us. It’s an indescribable feeling” Down time

“From that point on, we could enjoy it,” says Ager. “There were a few hoorays on the way down.”



Zeppelin ski drop

Left to right: Fabian Lentsch, Andreas Gumpenberger and Stefan Ager

Valkastiel was possible, although the risks at that height were high: storms, wind turbulence and changes in air pressure could destroy the fragile vessel. It took two years of calculations and careful planning before their engineers and pilots were satisfied. Any surplus weight would need to be abandoned, which included the director of the film they were shooting; there was just one cameraman and the skiers. “We had to spare every kilogram we could,” says Ager. Conditions also had to be perfect: “Very cold, no wind, clear weather – it was near impossible to find a suitable day to achieve that height.”


n a bright, still, -5°C morning in February 2019, those conditions were met and their airship set off from the same Friedrichshafen airfield that the first Zeppelin had launched from over a century before. The journey to the summit in the Brandner Valley in Austria was calm and uneventful – if cruising over ice-capped mountains in a giant rigidframed airship can ever be described as such. “It was a totally surreal experience,” says Ager. But as the vessel reached the summit, the real challenge began. There’s one crucial difference between heli-skiing and Zeppelin skiing: manoeuvrability. In most cases, helicopters are able to land at the top of ski runs, or at least hover close enough for a skier to hop out. No such luck with a 75m-long


airship. “When the narrow hatch opened, there was at least 60m of air beneath me,” notes Gumpenberger. “All I could see was snow and rocks.” At that height, even in good conditions, the Zeppelin was constantly moving, buffeted by even the slightest wind. The only option was to rappel down, as synchronised as possible – and fast. “Our ropes were 50m long and as we were abseiling we looked up and just saw this enormous airship,” says Ager. “I felt like I was rappelling off a cloud.” There is another vital consideration that separates heli-skiing from Zeppelin skiing: sustainability. For the last decade, environmentalists have petitioned against heli-skiing, citing climate-damaging fuel emissions and noise pollution; in France and Germany, it has already been banned. A Zeppelin generates a mere tenth of the CO2 emissions of comparable commercial aircraft and flies relatively silently. “We wanted an environmentally friendly alternative to heli-skiing,” says Ager. As the adventurers set foot on the summit, they too were relatively quiet. “Nobody had done this before us. It’s an indescribable feeling,” says Ager. However, the trip down the mountain was to prove harder than the ride up. “The snow conditions were challenging: crusty at first, then unexpectedly soft,” says Lentsch. “When I landed a jump, I almost fell.” Watch the Zeppelin ski drop on the Red Bull YouTube channel;   57

Leading from the back Spanning insane distances and shifts in altitude, the ultramarathon is among the most gruelling tests a human can choose to endure. For those at the front of the pack, the motivation is clear: victory. But what about those at the other end of the field? The Red Bulletin explores the driving force inside the minds of the backmarkers Words ANDREAS WOLLINGER  Photography KELVIN TRAUTMAN

Running brave: South Africa’s Comrades Marathon was first raced in 1921. This tough test was devised as a tribute to the resolve of soldiers in World War I



“I’m always surprised how much difference a little help can make” Adrian Saffy, 50 When performing extreme tasks, you learn an enormous amount – the kind of knowledge you can apply to other areas of your life. Take Bloemfontein-based ultrarunner Adrian Saffy, who helped a woman complete an ascent as she was about to give up, 30km from the finish line. “When you get a little bit of help,” says Saffy, “you’re often stronger than you thought you were.”

START Lady Grey

SkyRun 100 South Africa

Start: Lady Grey Finish: Wartrail Country Club, Barkly East Distance: 100km Elevation: 4,445m Checkpoints: 9 Month: November Course record: 12:08 Challenge: orienteering run in remote mountains

FINISH Wartrail Country Club

Louise Clamp had failed to complete the SkyRun 100 twice. On her third attempt, and with 30 hours of running behind her, the South African runner had almost reached the finish line, but needed a little bit of support for the last 400m and that happy ending


Freeze frame: the fourth stage takes in the Ötztal glacier. If the runners were to turn around, they’d have a glorious view of the Ötztal Valley, all the way to the hamlet of Mandarfen




“Take yourself to the limit and you forget everything else going on around you” Rutger Kleemans, 46 But why endure that hardship? “I guess I want to feel like the 10-year-old me again,” says the Amsterdam-based lawyer. START (2019) Oberstdorf

FINISH (2019) Sulden

Transalpine Run Germany – Italy

Start: (2019) Oberstdorf; (2020) Garmisch-Partenkirchen Finish: (2019) Sulden; (2020) Vals/Gitschberg Jochtal Distance: 273km; 255km Elevation: 16,162m; 16,498m Stages: 8 Month: August/September Course record: 28:38:47 Challenge: crossing the Alps THE RED BULLETIN 


Vital support: running 90km on tarmac is a brutal challenge for muscles and bones. Veteran athlete Evered-Hall knows from experience that it’s hard-going all the way

FINISH (UP ROUTE) Pietermaritzburg


“I’m an average guy. Anyone could do what I do” Mike Evered-Hall, 77 Evered-Hall is one of the oldest runners in the Comrades Marathon, which alternates between an ‘up’ and ‘down’ route each year – and the KwaZuluNatal local has run 23. His secret? “I avoid coffee, nicotine and other harmful substances, and I eat fresh fruit and vegetables, train a lot and get enough sleep. That’s all there is to it.” 64  

Comrades Marathon South Africa

Start: Durban Finish: Pietermaritzburg Distance: 90km Elevation: 1,700m Checkpoints: 6 Month: June Course record: (down route) 05:18:19; (up) 05:24:49 Challenge: the world’s oldest ultramarathon THE RED BULLETIN


A very personal triumph: Denise Herdien, 58, celebrates completing half the ultramarathon distance 17 seconds before the cut-off point




Dark night of the soul: runners on Lion’s Head mountain above Cape Town



Geraldine van Tromp during the toughest part of Ultra-Trail Cape Town: the climb at Hout Bay, 41km from the finish line. “I was running on empty,” she says

Ultrarunners are masters at predicting pain. Taping your nipples to prevent chafing is one of the more straightforward procedures

Ultra-Trail Cape Town South Africa

“Feeling your body work is an almost spiritual experience” Geraldine van Tromp, 42 “It’s easy to get caught up in your roles as a wife, a mother and [in my case] an engineer,” explains Van Tromp. For the South Africa-born ultrarunner, who is now based in New Zealand, it was “an opportunity to be alone while I was training and running. And in the process I learnt that I’m stronger than I ever could have believed”. She crossed the finish line in a time of 15 hours, 48 minutes and 44 seconds. THE RED BULLETIN 

Start/finish: Gardens Tech Rugby Club, Cape Town Distance: 100km Elevation: 4,300m Checkpoints: 7 Month: Nov/Dec Course record: 9:51:00 Challenge: very steep ascents and descents START/FINISH Gardens Tech Rugby Club, Cape Town



“It was a hard physical and mental battle all the way to the finish line” Joseph Chick, 42

Joseph Chick had been waiting seven years to take part in the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, but when the Oregonian finally stood at the start line last June he knew he couldn’t fulfil his greatest wish: he had wanted to show his parents what he was capable of, but both had passed away. “I’m not a religious or spiritual person,” says Chick, “but they were with me in my heart for the whole 100 miles [161km], even if that didn’t necessarily make things easier.” START Squaw Valley


Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run California, USA

Start: Squaw Valley Finish: Auburn Distance: 161km Elevation: 5,500m Checkpoints: 22 Month: June Course record: 14:09:28 Challenge: snow in the mountain passes, heat in the valleys



Flat out: the finishers nurse their wounds in a meadow at the end of the race



guide Get it. Do it. See it.







Jonathon Albon, king of obstacle course racing, on his Nordic workout

Inside the most incredible pit stop ever attempted – in zero G

Welcome to the dark side: our edit of the best night-running gear



The Arctic Haute Route is a spectacular ski odyssey through Northern Norway, from steep slopes to frozen shores PAGE 72



Do it

Calm after the storm: the weather here is so changeable you have to grab your chances on the slopes


NORTHERN EXPOSURE The islands of Northern Norway are home to magnificent mountains and epic fjords. Simon Schöpf reveals how you can sail, scale and then ski from peak to shore


here’s a routine check before you go on any ski tour: avalanche probe, emergency beacon, shovel, life jacket. Everything’s where it should be. Hang on a second… life jacket? Yes, additional safety precautions are necessary if you


want to tackle the Arctic Haute Route – a skiing adventure that delivers you to some of Northern Norway’s most spectacular island summits by steamboat. We’ve arrived at Austvågøya in the Lofoten Islands, one of the world’s northernmost populated

Picture perfect: the town of Svolvær on Austvågøya





Any trip to the Lofoten Islands requires – and rewards – patience. You arrive on a freighter, but the weather determines your departure time


Ship shape: MS Nordstjernen, built in 1956, is a comfortable floating base

Norway Oslo


Everything you need to know about travelling to the Lofoten Islands, from skiing fun to stockfish feasts



House of cod: stockfish is wind-dried on these wooden racks for two to three months

regions, more than 150km inside the Arctic Circle and a mere 2,420km from the North Pole. Our transport is MS Nordstjernen, a heritage-protected coastal vessel that, at 80m long, is small enough to access waterways larger ships can’t. The ship will be our floating base camp for the next three days, but once we disembark we’ll be totally exposed to the elements. We lay anchor in the shelter of Austnesfjorden – a fjord that bisects the island – then head for shore in a dinghy, donning ski goggles to protect us from the spray. What has brought us all here is the promise of summit-to-sea riding: the perfect downhill run from mountain top to water’s edge.


Nature has gone for a monochrome palette: white snow, black mountains We’re already deep in snow as we step onto the beach near the village of Laupstad, so we strap on skis and head for our destination, the 596m peak of Sautinden. What might be considered a comfortable ski tour for beginners in the Alps is something of an undertaking in Northern Norway: you start at sea level, so the altitude you have to conquer is exactly the height of the peak. However, among the steeper

GETTING THERE Fly from Oslo to Svolvær (Lofoten) or Tromsø, or by ferry from Bodø WHEN TO GO The best months for ski touring are March and April, when there is usually still snow right down to the shoreline. If you’re lucky with the weather, you’ll have downhills all the way to the beach FOOD The Arctic Haute Route is famed for its Norwegian specialities, which include smoked halibut caviar and cloudberry marmalade as well as stockfish, touted as “Norway’s oldest export and cultural asset” ACCOMMODATION Since the writing of this feature, MS Nordstjernen has been replaced on the route by MS Quest, a comfortable expedition ship with 26 cabins for up to 54 passengers TOUR OPERATOR The Norwegian Adventure Company organises the tour, with prices from £1,655 per person. There’s a choice of two routes: northbound from Lofoten to Tromsø, or southbound in the opposite direction. Each trip lasts three-and-a half days (including three full days of skiing)


Do it

slopes there are some cosier options with wide rock faces and gentler gradients, offering perfect terrain for ski touring. Sautinden is one such mountain. We’re soon beyond the tree line; the betula nana, or dwarf Arctic birch, don’t have it easy at this latitude and can only grow slowly in the short summer. Then we’re in spectacular open terrain. MS Nordstjernen gets ever smaller in the distance until it looks no bigger than a toy. Nature has gone for a monochrome palette today: we have white snow and black mountains. If it wasn’t for the occasional fluorescent ski jacket, you might think you were watching a black-and-white film. Higravstinden, the archipelago’s tallest mountain, suddenly looms out of the fog behind our boat, reaching 1,146m into the sky. The mountains have the look of the Western Alps, but in pocket size. Craggy and inaccessible, they soar straight up from the fjord. An 800m peak here could be mistaken for a four-thousander in Switzerland if you Photoshopped out the sea. Once we reach the top of the first pass, the view opens out. Before us is the wide-open space of Morfjorden – almost 1.5km2 of nature reserve with sea in the middle. To our right is the inlet of Sløverfjorden. What’s most striking is that there’s water and

Aiming high: writer Simon Schöpf begins his ascent on foot

The Lofoten Islands offer great skiing and breathtaking views


little islands wherever you look. The Gulf Stream accounts for the pleasant temperature – even in winter, it doesn’t get bitterly cold here – but the proximity to the sea means the weather changes every 10 minutes: a blizzard, a sunny spell, then another blizzard. “On the Lofoten Islands, we sometimes get four seasons within an hour,” our guide Isaak explains. The wind is whipping up into a storm and we’re forced to take the skins off our skis. The summitto-sea ride is not as easy to come by as you might think. Northern Norway isn’t exactly famous for sustained periods of high pressure and the fair weather it brings. We lie in wait for a hint of sunshine. Isaak is optimistic: “The sun’s coming out again!” And indeed we do now get to make a downhill turn or two with good visibility. MS Nordstjernen gets bigger again and we’re already looking forward to a hot shower in our cabins. But, more than that, we’re craving a hot dinner on

board. The ship’s young head chef, Fredrik Lundgren, and his colleagues have just won bronze at the Bocuse d’Or in Lyon – the “Champions League for chefs”, as he puts it – and, when not busy at the two-Michelin-starred Noma restaurant in Copenhagen, he cooks for hungry ski tourers “in a rickety old 1950s kitchen with all the original fixtures and fittings. I love the challenge”. The menu includes reindeer steaks from the nearby island of Senja, and fillets of stockfish – unsalted white fish caught in the seas around Lofoten and winddried on wooden racks called hjell; this is the world’s oldest known preservation technique. “This [trip] should also be a journey of culinary discovery,” says Lundgren. “Almost all the ingredients are sourced from this region.” MS Nordstjernen’s 3,600hp engine has now fired up again and is making steady progress out towards the sea. The waves are growing and you have to keep a firm hold of your pudding if you want any hope of eating it. We sail further north, past the archipelago of Vesterålen and on towards Kvaløya, an island even further north in the municipality of Tromsø, where we wake in comfort the next morning. The weather seems to like us better today – there’s talk of sunny spells, and with it comes a renewed sense of motivation. On our trip ashore in the dinghy, we can already see specks of blue sky, and as we near the summit it remains bright and clear. We reach the top of Gråtinden – the grey peak, some 871m above sea level – in glorious sunshine. An instant moment of glee is shared among the group, because we know what awaits us: an unimpeded downhill ride to the beach, with the sea constantly in view and every turn a joy. So we finally got what we’d been dreaming of for so long: the perfect summit-to-sea ride. It will live long in our memories. To explore the Lofoten Islands, visit



“We sometimes get four seasons within an hour”



This is Wales.

Find yours…

This is a land of adventure. Feel the thrill. #Fin�YourEpic


Jonathan Albon is the undefeated World Champion of obstacle course running – a punishing endurance feat involving hard miles, muscle-sapping climbs and bruising crawls. Here’s how he builds the resilience…


n 2009, when Jonathan Albon began obstacle course running (OCR), it wasn’t even considered a sport. He still wasn’t a pro racer in 2014, when, at the age of 25, he secured a world double – winning both the OCR and Spartan World Championships. The next half a decade saw him defend an undefeated record as OCR World Champion, take the Skyrunner World Series in 2017, and win a second Spartan World Championships title and become Ultra Skyrunning World Champion the next year. What drives a person to such levels of endurance? For Albon, living in Essex at the age of 20, it began with a local newspaper ad for the West Midlands’ Tough Guy race. “It looked gnarly – jumping through fire and dragging yourself through ice. I’d never done anything with my life,

so I figured, ‘Why not see if I could complete this?’” he says. “And for some reason I found I’m able to jump over things and run pretty good. I get my skill at lifting from working at FedEx for five years.” Perhaps it’s because he came to competitive running late that Albon is free to tread a different path to the relentlessly coached, lifecontrolled pros. So in 2014 Albon moved to Bergen, Norway, to forge his OCR spirit in the extreme depths of an Arctic winter. “It’s Type Two fun,” he says. “You’re breaking ice,

“Part of doing an obstacle race is just getting on with it… Your body learns not to be cold”

Splash dash: Albon employs his “skipping stride” (see his obstacle course tips, opposite) to negotiate muddy water


getting electrocuted, going into dark small spaces, getting exposed to heights – all these fears and all this pain – but then you feel more human afterwards when you’re sitting comfortably at a desk; you appreciate that luxury.” While the main component of OCR is running, Albon finds it pays to mix things up. “I came to realise that running 12 months of the year isn’t that good for you, but two or three months of something lowimpact can be.” Instead, he channels his cardio workouts into ski touring near home. “It’s fun and invigorating. Last winter, I was doing 12,00015,000m climbs on skis every week. It’s not often you run up a big mountain, then down again, then jump up and down and say, ‘Let’s do that again.’” Finding fun in the cold forges a level of resilience you can bring to summer racing. “Part of doing an obstacle race is just getting on with it, no matter what. Your body learns not to be cold.” In summer, Albon prefers doing his offseason base mileage training in cycling shoes; in winter, he’s in ski boots. “I’ve rediscovered my love for running because I’ve been doing less of it, which is great. And cross training can build a really big engine.” When it comes to nailing the art of scaling obstacles such as hanging ropes and towering cargo nets, Albon applies a similarly disciplined yet fun approach: he does a lot of bouldering, which is known to be mentally engaging. And today, at 30, he believes he’s as sharp mentally as he is physically. “I think there’s a lot to be said for just being out in nature, full stop. When you’re breathing fresh air, it changes your mood completely.” Jonathan Albon is sponsored by GORE Running Wear, Dryrobe, Clif Bar and VJ Sport. Visit;




Do it

Mud pack: obstacle course racing is a battle with others – and with yourself



“It’s Type Two fun… You feel more human later when you’re sitting comfortably at a desk”

Clearing the A-frame This is often the biggest obstacle. Pick a part of the net that’s less saggy – this will most likely be where it’s attached to the frame. “Then grip one vertical centre strand and place your feet either side of it as you climb,” says Albon. “Take big steps – the fewer you do, the less chance of your foot slipping through.”

Scaling the high wall

Net gains: the OCR World Champion prepares to get down and dirty with his next obstacle

Negotiating the barbed-wire scramble


“The army-type crawl can be painful if you’re in shorts on gravel. Then there’s the roly-poly technique, like a sausage roll; the problem with that is you get dizzy. So I do three rolls, then drag myself sideways before doing another three rolls, and so on.”

The secret isn’t sheer brute force, as Albon reveals…

Climbing freehanging ropes Scaling mud-slimed hemp is about technique more than strength: Albon never only uses his arm muscles. “Get the rope over one foot, then beneath the other, and stand on it,” he says. “Then press upwards using core and leg strength rather than your arms.” Lower yourself slowly, too – rope burn isn’t funny.


“I do a pull-up, get my elbows onto it, muscle up, then swing my legs over, but that takes a lot of strength,” says Albon. “To use more of your legs and core, jump up and grab the top of the wall with straight arms, swing your body to get your heel up, then slide to lift your calf over, too. From there, you can roll onto the top.”

Skipping through mud

Hanging tough: the slightest slip on the ropes can mean not only a soaking but the addition of crucial seconds to your time

“If it’s ankle-deep, I just run. If it’s knee-deep, I’ve got this skipping stride: pick up one foot, then skip forwards so that only one shin cuts through the water at a time. If it’s swimming, I’m a big fan of breaststroke, because submerging your head in dirty water changes how you breathe.”




Austria’s powder playground With pristine slopes, off-piste powder and the snowiest ski area in Austria, Obertauern is set to become your new favourite winter destination




Freeskier Tobi Tritscher produced his first Homerun film in Obertauern last year






Austria is famed for its beautiful mountains and amazing snow sports. Every year, visitors from across the world travel here to enjoy the country’s incredible slopes and mountain lifestyle. As every snow sports enthusiast knows, an essential part of any winter adventure is heavy snowfall on the pistes. Which is why Obertauern is proud that of all Austria’s leading snow destinations, it is number one for guaranteed snow. All winter sports destinations wish they could promise heavy snowfall and pristine slopes year after year;

however, due to unpredictable weather, it’s often hard to tell whether you will be met with green or white hills on your annual ski trip. The region of Obertauern is a little different, however, as the guarantee of snow in the region was proven by ski tourism researcher Günther Aigner in 2016, with an average maximum snow depth of 264cm. Thanks to the unique weather conditions in the Tauern mountains, snow clouds coming from the north as well as from the south bring a white splendour to Obertauern for almost seven months, with the first snow falling in October and lasting till May. The region has attracted some pretty impressive admirers. World-renowned freeskier and Red Bull PlayStreets veteran Tobi Tritscher is known to frequent the off-piste hills of Obertauern, calling it his own “backyard playground”. Tritscher’s film series Homerun, in which the Austrian skier rips down incredibly powdery mountains, was filmed entirely on Obertauern’s snowy peaks, showing the full potential of this special region with its amazing snowfall and varied, snaking routes. Visitors to Obertauern have plenty to explore. The centre of the town, located at 1,740m, is in the middle of several pistes that wind out and cover the mountain slopes up to an altitude of 2,313m, allowing visitors to ski in and out from any location. The legendary Tauern round includes 26 modern cable cars and ski lifts that connect approximately 100km of slopes, enabling you to explore all the pistes. With popular snow park The Spot available for snowboarders and freestylers, the more challenging Gamsleiten 2 slope for the bravest and most skilled riders, and the Tauren Tour running for all levels of rider from small children to adults, everyone will discover a holiday they love in Obertauern.


FAST FACTS Location Obertauern is a 100km drive south of Salzburg Altitude 1,740m; ski area from 1,630 to 2,313m Other distances by car Munich: 220km; Vienna: 330km Start of winter season November 21, 2019; lifts in operation until May 1, 2020 Accommodation Around 150 hotels, inns, guesthouses and holiday apartments, plus six youth hostels, in all price categories Runs Approximately 100km of which, according to international standards, 61km are easy (blue trail signs), 35km medium (red) and 4km difficult (black). Clearly visible signposts make orientation in the skiing area simple for skiers Lifts 26 cable railways and lifts, with a capacity of up to 50,248 passengers per hour

Obertauern is number one in Austria for guaranteed snow



Do it HOW TO

CHANGE A WHEEL IN ZERO GRAVITY Performing a pit stop while weightless sounds impossible – but not for the world’s best pit crew

GRAVITY OF THE SITUATION You might not have access to an F1 car, but you can experience zero G for yourself. WHERE: Yuri Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Centre, Star City, Russia NEAREST AIRPORT: Sheremetyevo International Airport, Moscow


Reinventing the wheel change: record-breaking Red Bull Racing go where no pit crew has gone before

The climb


Learning to fly

“You don’t realise that on the way up in the aircraft you’ll experience almost 2 G – twice your normal bodyweight – and the sensation of just being planted into the ground,” says mechanic Paul ‘Harry’ Knight of the first flight. “We were all like Bambi, legs everywhere – we just fell to the floor.”

“My stomach felt fine, but the pressure in my head was immense – I thought it would explode,” says support team co-ordinator Mark ‘Wincey’ Willis. “For the first two or three flights, my brain couldn’t compute. If you’d asked me to put a square peg in a square hole, I wouldn’t have been able to.”

“There’s no onboard indicator when zero G is about to kick in, just the loadmaster talking to you – the only problem is he speaks in Russian,” says chief mechanic Joe ‘Robbo’ Robinson. “When you go over the top, there’s no feeling of being thrown into the air. You just lift lightly off your feet, into the float.”



At last November’s Brazilian Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing set a new pit-stop world record of 1.82 seconds. An incredible achievement, but not the team’s most remarkable pitstop performance of the year: that took place in zero gravity – or rather, simulated zero G. At Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Research & Test Cosmonaut Training Centre, the pit crew got to work aboard an Ilyushin II-76MDK cosmonaut training plane, aka the Vomit Comet. The aeronautic manoeuvre known as a parabolic arc is relatively straightforward (see opposite). The aircraft climbs at 45°, then reduces speed, entering a ballistic trajectory. The plane then goes into free fall, creating weightlessness, before making its descent. The crew had seven flights to acclimatise and relearn basic pit-stop techniques in zero G; none had previous experience in such an environment.

Zero G pit stop






RED BULL FILM CREW ROLE POSITION As soon as the plane hit zero gravity, the crew had to strap themselves into place before getting to work on the car


9,000M 45˚ NOSE UP



1.8 G

1.8 G





The clock’s ticking

Change that wheel

Adjust your mindset

Exit strategy

“When we started to float, we’d unstrap the car, roll it into position and have 15 seconds of filming before strapping it – and ourselves – down again,” says Knight. “After that, we’d have a few minutes to inspect for damage to the axles and wheel hubs and get ready to go again.” [Each flight contains 10-15 parabolas.]

“As soon as you move the wheel gun towards a wheel, you push yourself backwards. Try to pull a wheel off and you end up spinning yourself around,” explains Willis. “You can only control yourself through your ankles, because your feet are strapped down,” adds Robinson.

“Zero G makes you think and operate in a completely different way,” says Willis. “We had to spin the car a full 360°. We had to physically roll it over in mid-air. It was a very risky manoeuvre, because we didn’t know if there would be time to do it, or whether the car would end up landing upside down.”

“You don’t want the car – or yourself – floating half a metre off the ground when gravity returns,” says Robinson. “One guy landed headfirst on the front wing, which made a mess. It got a laugh when we took it back to the factory – asking for a repair because a cosmonaut had headbutted it.”



Do it


January/ February January The Invitation This immersive experience from the Secret Theatre Project sold out during its recent run in Hong Kong. Upon buying your ticket, you’re given the address of a fictional five-star hotel in east London, and a password to enter a masquerade ball that escalates into a gripping tale of murder and intrigue. If you’ve got the stomach, the VIP option even comes with an immersive dining experience created by the reallife hotel’s acclaimed head chef. Town Hall Hotel, London;


to 29 February Isadora Now American dancer Isadora Duncan was a feminist icon who, during the early 20th century, inspired women of the era to freely express themselves. This allfemale ensemble celebrates her life with three performances including her rarely-seen composition Dance with the Furies; and Viviana Durante, a former principal at The Royal Ballet, returns to solo performance after a decade to interpret Duncan’s style in the Five Brahms Waltzes. Barbican, London;


February BrewLDN This festival is all about one thing: great beer, and lots of it. More than 150 breweries will be in attendance, from big names such as Guinness Open Gate to the allfemale Mothership, the 100-percent vegan Pillars and low-alcohol specialists Big Drop. There’s some excellent food to pair with your pint, too – thanks to BBQ, smoked meats and international street-dining stalls – and it’s all soundtracked by the 10-piece Old Dirty Brasstards and Hoxton Radio DJs. The Old Truman Brewery, London;


This January is the 14th anniversary of the death of Nam June Paik, the South Korean visionary hailed as the founder of video art. To mark the event, Tate Modern is hosting a vast collection of the avant-garde genius’ work, spanning five decades. Experimental audiovisual pieces include TV Garden (a garden of tellies), Robot K-456 (his 1964 automaton, pictured below, that can walk and excrete peas) and Sistine Chapel, a room-sized reimagining of Michelangelo’s masterpiece that uses 40 video projectors. The exhibition ends on February 9. Tate Modern, London;


South African trail runner Thabang Madiba in the short film Thabang

January to 26 May


Taking place in the fabled resort town of Banff, 1,630m above sea level in the Canadian Rockies, this festival showcases some of the year’s best films about our obsession with mountains. If you’re not fortunate enough to make the pilgrimage, fear not: the pick of the bunch are trekking across the UK and Ireland on a four-month tour. Highlights include Spectre – To the End of the Earth, the epic documentary of explorer Leo Houlding’s kite-skiing trip to Antarctica’s most remote peak (as detailed in our May 2019 issue); and The Imaginary Line – director Kylor Melton’s heart-stopping film about slacklining across the US-Mexican border. Various locations, UK and Ireland; 82  



January Nam June Paik

See it



A festival of snowboarding in Switzerland, flips and tricks in Estonia, and rally driving in Monaco – just some of the highlights you’ll find on Red Bull TV…

January / February

Ready for boarding: the halfpipe at Laax


to 18 January   LIVE 


Every year, snowboarders of all standards – from elite to amateur – converge on the world-famous ski resort of Laax in eastern Switzerland for a week-long festival of open-air concerts, DJ sets, parties and, of course, top boarding. This year’s event kicks off on Monday, January 13, but it’s on Friday that the heat is raised with the finals of the World Cup slopestyle event, followed the next day by the halfpipe. Catch all the action live on Red Bull TV.


to 9 February   LIVE 



Red Bull TV is a global digital entertainment destination featuring programming that is beyond the ordinary and is available anytime, anywhere. Go online at, download the app, or connect via your Smart TV. To find out more, visit


Don’t miss the 20th anniversary of this iconic BMX and skateboarding event. The competition returns to the Saku Arena in Tallinn, Estonia, where riders and skaters from across the globe (pictured: Spain’s Jaime Mateu) will go head to head.


to 27 January   LIVE 


One of the few things you can guarantee about the opener of the World Rally Championship is its location. Less predictable are the conditions on the Alpine roads, making this a wild ride for the drivers and great entertainment for spectators.



Equipment CAPTURE

The action vlogger GoPro HERO8 Black What the OG action cam has done for sports photography, this latest version intends to do for bloggers, with mods such as a shotgun mic, LED lighting and a flip-up display. Enhanced HDR, stabilisation, speed controls, a night-lapse mode and water resistance to a depth of 10m shows GoPro also hasn’t forgotten its (hard)core.


Earbuds evolved AirPods Pro Regular AirPods don’t fit your ears? Apple heard you. In fact, it listened to feedback from thousands of human ears when building the AirPods Pro – earbuds tailored to the hearing of the individual. On first wearing, sensors test your ear canal pressure for the correct fit, then dual mics compare external and internal sound 200 times per second to deliver active noise cancellation that’s superior to high-end, over-the-ear ’phones. Squeeze the force sensor on the stem and external conversations filter in over your audio. The inward-facing mic then continues to listen to the audio as it sounds to you, continually adapting the EQ for an optimal experience. More than earbuds, these are ear computers.


Pocket movie theatre


BenQ GV1 In the era of smartphones, some believe the art of big-screen cinema is being lost. But maybe it’s just going mobile. This battery-powered projection system has the power to deliver a 2.5m display from your phone or direct from YouTube or Netflix, yet it’s small enough to fit in your pocket. THE RED BULLETIN 


Drone the size of a phone DJI Mavic Mini Just a few years ago, committing to a drone hobby meant investing in a large custom backpack with plenty of battery pockets. Today, this palm-sized quadcopter could easily fit into one of those battery pockets; it also weighs just 249g and has a flight time of 30 minutes.   85



A nobler time The airbag you wear Quiksilver Highline Pro Airlift Vest “The Airlift vest is a safety tool, not a performance enhancer. Do not take greater risks while using it.” So says the disclaimer for this surfing aid, intended for only the most experienced boarders facing the world’s largest, most challenging waves. Four pull-tabs are attached to CO2 cannisters that inflate strategically positioned air bladders to send the wearer rapidly to the surface, facing the right way up. Deflation tabs expel the air just as quickly if you need to get beneath the surface before that second wave hits.


Skull of hard knocks Hedkayse ONE In Europe, there’s an impact safety test called EN1078 that all cycle helmets must pass, but this assessment doesn’t factor in the daily bumps that can diminish the effectiveness of regular EPS (polystyrene) headgear. So a group of engineers at Loughborough University decided to create a new material – Enkayse – that disperses impact energy rather than deforming to absorb it. The result, according to its creators, is a helmet that can not only take multiple blows and remain within EN1078 standards, but also protect the brain from minor knocks that, it is believed, could cumulatively contribute to brain disease over time. 86  

The story of Sir Douglas Bader, one of Britain’s WWII flying aces, is wilder than any fiction. A double amputee, the London-born RAF pilot claimed 22 aerial victories – the absence of his legs are said to have better equipped him to resist G-force blackouts, as blood couldn’t drain so far from his brain. “A disabled person who fights back is not disabled… but inspired,” declared Bader – who died in 1982 at the age of 72 – and, true to his word, he escaped prisoner-of-war camps on a number of occasions. This watch, designed in conjunction with the pilot’s family, features his 242 Squadron insignia on the strap and his plane on the second hand, and 10 per cent of all sales go to the Douglas Bader Foundation. THE RED BULLETIN



AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Bader Limited Edition Chronograph




Jet to the Alps with the specialist airline and your ski and snowboard equipment flies free Every skier or snowboarder knows the pain of checking in their favourite equipment with all the other luggage at the airport as they embark on their snow holiday. Having gear that’s in good working order can make or break a week in the mountains, so it’s vital to travel with an airline that you can trust with those all-important boards, skis and boots. Being the skiers’ airline of choice, SWISS transports your first set of skis/snowboard and boots free of charge, in addition to your standard free baggage allowance of 23kg in Economy Class* or two 32kg pieces in Business Class. SWISS connects UK and Switzerland with more than 160 weekly flights from London Heathrow, London Gatwick**, London City, Manchester and Birmingham to Zurich, Geneva and Sion**. SWISS’s classic fare from London Heathrow to Geneva – gateway to the Alps – starts from £82 in one direction and includes free ski and snowboard equipment carriage. *Free ski carriage is not applicable for travel on our Economy Light fares. **Seasonal flights only




Take a plunge into the darkness and your sense of awareness and perception of pace are raised to the next level. Run safe, be seen, stay warm, look cool

UNDER ARMOUR UA Recover Fleece Full Zip top, underarmour.; BJÖRN BORG DPM shorts,; THE NORTH FACE Men’s Easy tights,; STANCE Great Plains Crew Feel360 Run socks,; ASICS GT-2000 running shoes,



THE NORTH FACE Flight Series Better Than Naked jacket,; PUMA 4Keeps Mid Impact bra top and Hybrid Netfit Astro running shoes,; BJÖRN BORG Clara high-waist tights,



Revée (left) wears PROVIZ Reflect360 running jacket,; UNDER ARMOUR UA IntelliKnit sweater, underarmour.; LULULEMON Wunder Under High-Rise 28” tights,; STANCE Exchange Crew Feel360 Run socks, stance.; PUMA Hybrid Netfit Astro running shoes, Natalia wears PROVIZ Reflect360 long-sleeve top and Reflect360 running jacket (worn round waist),; ICEBREAKER MerinoLOFT Helix vest,; HUMMEL Hmltoss tights,; NEW BALANCE FuelCell Echo running shoes,; SUUNTO 9 GPS watch,; ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE Reflective Ultimate running gloves,; THE NORTH FACE Electra backpack,


Natalia wears NICCE Petrol Bomber iridescent jacket,; ADIDAS Supernova Confident Three Season jacket,; NEW BALANCE Printed Evolve tights and Evolve running top,; ON Running shorts,; SAUCONY Guide 13 running shoes, Darren wears BJÖRN BORG DPM long-sleeved T-shirt, black T-shirt and DPM leggings, bjornborg. com; LULULEMON T.H.E. Short 9” Liner shorts,; STANCE Joven Classic Crew socks, stance.; SAUCONY Guide 13 running shoes,

Chris wears ADIDAS TERREX Agravic Shield jacket, adidas.; NEW BALANCE Shift running shorts,; ASICS Icon Winter tights,; STANCE Kagan Moon Man Crew Feel360 Run socks, stance.; THE NORTH FACE Flight Series Trinity running shoes, Revée wears THE NORTH FACE Flight Series Better Than Naked jacket,; PUMA 4Keeps Mid Impact bra top and Hybrid Netfit Astro running shoes,; BJÖRN BORG Clara high-waist tights,


ARC’TERYX Cita SL jacket,; BJÖRN BORG Cle Racerback Tank top,; NEW BALANCE Reclaim Hybrid tights,; HOKA ONE ONE Cavu 2 running shoes,



UNDER ARMOUR Women’s UA Qualifier Storm Graphic packable jacket,; LULULEMON Free To Be Serene sports bra,; ASICS W GPX CPD tights and Gel-Cumulus 20 running shoes,; STANCE Needles Crew Feel360 Training socks,; OSPREY Duro 6 hydration pack,; headband, stylist’s own


THE NORTH FACE Men’s Flight Futurelight jacket,; PUMA Ignite T-shirt, Ignite Blocked 7” running shorts and Hybrid Fuego running shoes,; STANCE Serve Crew Feel360 Run socks,



The Red Bulletin is published in six countries. This is the cover of February’s French edition, featuring a striking image by Canadian ski and action sports photographer Reuben Krabbe For more stories beyond the ordinary, go to:

The Red Bulletin UK. ABC certified distribution 154,346 (Jan-Dec 2018)


Editor-in-Chief Alexander Macheck Deputy Editors-in-Chief Andreas Rottenschlager, Nina Treml Creative Director Erik Turek Art Directors Kasimir Reimann (deputy CD), Miles English, Tara Thompson Head of Photo Eva Kerschbaum Deputy Head of Photo Marion Batty Photo Director Rudi Übelhör Production Editor Marion Lukas-Wildmann Managing Editor Ulrich Corazza Copy Chief Andreas Wollinger Editors Jakob Hübner, Werner Jessner, Alex Lisetz, Stefan Wagner Design Marion Bernert-Thomann, Martina de CarvalhoHutter, Kevin Goll, Carita Najewitz Photo Editors Susie Forman, Ellen Haas, Tahira Mirza Head of Commercial & Publishing Management Stefan Ebner Publishing Management Sara Varming (manager), Ivona Glibusic, Bernhard Schmied, Melissa Stutz, Mia Wienerberger B2B Marketing & Communication Katrin Sigl (manager), Agnes Hager, Teresa Kronreif, Stefan Portenkirchner Head of Creative Markus Kietreiber Co-Publishing Susanne Degn-Pfleger & Elisabeth Staber (manager), Mathias Blaha, Raffael Fritz, Marlene Hinterleitner, Valentina Pierer, Mariella Reithoffer, Verena Schörkhuber, Sara Wonka, Julia Bianca Zmek, Edith Zöchling-Marchart Commercial Design Peter Knehtl (manager), Sasha Bunch, Simone Fischer, Martina Maier, Florian Solly Advertising Placement Manuela Brandstätter, Monika Spitaler Head of Production Veronika Felder Production Friedrich Indich, Walter O. Sádaba, Sabine Wessig Repro Clemens Ragotzky (manager), Claudia Heis, Nenad Isailovi c,̀ Sandra Maiko Krutz, Josef Mühlbacher MIT Michael Thaler, Christoph Kocsisek Operations Yvonne Tremmel, Alexander Peham Assistant to General Management Patricia Höreth Subscriptions and Distribution Peter Schiffer (manager), Klaus Pleninger (distribution), Nicole Glaser (distribution), Yoldaş Yarar (subscriptions) Global Editorial Office Heinrich-Collin-Straße 1, A-1140 Vienna Tel: +43 1 90221 28800, Fax: +43 1 90221 28809 Red Bull Media House GmbH Oberst-Lepperdinger-Straße 11-15, A-5071 Wals bei Salzburg, FN 297115i, Landesgericht Salzburg, ATU63611700 General Manager and Publisher Andreas Kornhofer Directors Dietrich Mateschitz, Gerrit Meier, Dietmar Otti, Christopher Reindl

THE RED BULLETIN United Kingdom, ISSN 2308-5894 Acting Editor Tom Guise Associate Editor Lou Boyd Music Editor Florian Obkircher Chief Sub-Editor Davydd Chong Publishing Manager Ollie Stretton Editor (on leave) Ruth Morgan Advertising Sales Mark Bishop, Fabienne Peters, Printed by Prinovis GmbH & Co KG, Printing Company Nuremberg, 90471 Nuremberg, Germany UK Office Seven Dials Warehouse, 42-56 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9LA Tel: +44 (0) 20 3117 2000 Subscribe Enquiries or orders to: subs@uk. Back issues available to purchase at: Basic subscription rate is £20.00 per year. International rates are available. The Red Bulletin is published 10 times a year. Please allow a maximum of four weeks for delivery of the first issue Customer Service +44 (0)1227 277248,

THE RED BULLETIN Austria, ISSN 1995-8838 Editor Christian Eberle-Abasolo Proofreaders Hans Fleißner (manager), Petra Hannert, Monika Hasleder, Billy Kirnbauer-Walek Publishing Management Bernhard Schmied Sales Management Alfred Vrej Minassian (manager), Thomas Hutterer, Stefanie Krallinger

THE RED BULLETIN Germany, ISSN 2079-4258 Editor David Mayer Proofreaders Hans Fleißner (manager), Petra Hannert, Monika Hasleder, Billy Kirnbauer-Walek Country Project Management Natascha Djodat Advertising Sales Matej Anusic, Thomas Keihl,

THE RED BULLETIN Switzerland, ISSN 2308-5886 Editor Nina Treml Proofreaders Hans Fleißner (manager), Petra Hannert, Monika Hasleder, Billy Kirnbauer-Walek Country Project Management Meike Koch Advertising Sales Marcel Bannwart (D-CH), Christian Bürgi (W-CH), Goldbach Publishing Marco Nicoli,

THE RED BULLETIN USA, ISSN 2308-586X Editor-in-Chief Peter Flax Deputy Editor Nora O’Donnell Copy Chief David Caplan Director of Publishing Cheryl Angelheart Country Project Management Laureen O’Brien Advertising Sales Todd Peters, Dave Szych, Tanya Foster,

THE RED BULLETIN France, ISSN 2225-4722 Editor Pierre-Henri Camy Country Coordinator Christine Vitel Country Project M ­ anagement Alessandra Ballabeni Contributors, Translators and Proofreaders Étienne Bonamy, Frédéric & Susanne Fortas, Suzanne ­Kříženecký, Claire ­Schieffer, Jean-Pascal Vachon, Gwendolyn de Vries




BEYOND THE ORDINARY The next issue is out on Tuesday 10th March with London Evening Standard. Also available across the UK at airports, gyms, hotels, universities and selected retail stores. Read more at AARON BLATT / RED BULL CONTENT POOL

Action highlight

Cloud hopping

The next issue of THE RED BULLETIN is out on March 10 98  



Urban streets and parks are the usual domain of BMXer Matthias Dandois, whose speciality is flatland – performing tricks on smooth surfaces without ramps, jumps and grind rails. But when it comes to expressing himself, the Frenchman aims high. Which is how the multi-championship winner ended up balancing above the clouds on the 3,226m-high peak of Aiguille Rouge in the French Alps. Watch the video at




DANNY MACASKILL IS AN INNOVATOR AND PERFECTIONIST DANNY MACASKILL IS AN INNOVATOR AND PERFECTIONIST and for nearly 8 years he’s chosen Lezyne to keep his bikes running as perfect as and for nearly 8 years he’s chosen Lezyne to keep his bikes running as perfect as possible while performing the unimaginable. It’s an invaluable partnership and possible while performing the unimaginable. It’s an invaluable partnership and in return validates what we do as we strive to make perfect cycling accessories. in return validates what we do as we strive to make perfect cycling accessories. LEZYNE is Engineered Design LEZYNE is Engineered Design


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The Red Bulletin UK 02/20  

The Red Bulletin UK 02/20